A security alert which forced Belfast residents to evacuate their homes, and closed the Westlink in both directions, is now over – and has been declared a hoax.
An Army Technical Officer attended the scene in the Cullingtree Road area on Monday and, following a clearance operation, a device was confirmed as an elaborate hoax.
Chief Inspector Anthony McNally said: “Our response to today’s security alert consisted of partnership working on a number of fronts.
“Firstly, a Major Incident Traffic Plan was put into operation to work with colleagues in the Department of Regional Development, Roads Service, to help keep traffic disruption to a minimum.
“Secondly, our partnership working with the local community led to the opening of the Divis Community Centre which was made available to a number of residents in the local area who had to be evacuated from their homes during the alert.
“I would therefore like to thank both local residents and the community centre for their assistance, patience and understanding during this time.
“I also want to reassure the wider community that we remain focused on keeping people safe.
“I would appeal to anyone who was in the area of Cullingtree Road this morning and saw any unusual activity to contact local police by phoning the non-emergency number, 101.”